inmichigansoil

People, towns, businesses, farms and gardens all grow in Michigan soil.


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We All Live Downstream

There is solid pollution you can see and chemical pollution you can't see.  Image by Anthony Easton at www.flickr.com/photos/pinkmoose/3639951666/

There is solid pollution you can see and chemical pollution you can’t see. Image by Anthony Easton at ww.flickr.com/photos/pinkmoose/3639951666/

The recent heavy rains prompted Chicago officials to divert the Chicago River and the sewage it carried into Lake Michigan. Kenosha also dumped its sewage directly into Lake Michigan. Those decisions kept black water out of people basements, but they put raw sewage and untreated wastewater into the lake.

There have been many articles about agricultural runoff carried by the Maumee and other rivers going into Lake Erie. Farms and irrigation are a natural pairing. If pollutants are in the river, they will be in the downstream lake. Since Lake Erie is downstream from Lakes Michigan, Superior, and Huron, it receives an abundance of contaminants.

Rivers and streams travel to a lake which travels to an ocean. Pollution reaching the ocean is dangerous to marine life and the creatures who rely on that marine life for food. Contaminated marine food chains can harm land and air animals who eat tainted fish and plant life. Oceans are sensitive to pollution and people depend on the oceans. The quality of human life depends on the quality of ocean water.

When we talk about water, we all live downstream.

Michiganders have a special relationship to water. We also have a special responsibility. Please be aware and involved in water quality issues in your city or town. Think of water quality as a basic city service, like fire and police protection, like roads maintenance. Raise your voice at city and town meetings to let elected officials know you want dependable basic city services to be a priority when they are spending our tax dollars.

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Hummingbirds Return to Michigan Soon

Lucky birdwatchers can see the ruby-throated hummingbird in their yard if they offer tempting nectar. Image by Bitslammer at www.flickr.com/photos/norrisc/3839005519/

Lucky birdwatchers can see the ruby-throated hummingbird in their yard if they offer tempting nectar.
Image by Bitslammer at http://www.flickr.com/photos/norrisc/3839005519/

The spring of 2013 is slow to normal in getting started. Birds and other animals seem to know when better conditions are just around the corner. Hummingbirds arrive in Michigan starting mid-April and into May, depending on the weather.

This is a good time to get ready and set out the feeders. You can buy nectar or you can make your own. The Smithsonian National Zoological Park offers this recipe for hummingbird nectar:

Directions for making safe hummingbird food:

  1. Mix 1 part sugar with 4 parts water and bring to a boil to kill any bacteria or mold present.
  2. Cool and fill feeder.
  3. Extra sugar water may be stored in a refrigerator.
  4. Red dye should not be added.

Also, start the season with a clean feeder. Wash the feeder with hot soapy water and then with a dilute water/bleach solution. Thoroughly rinse the feeder and allow it to dry before using.

The website How to Enjoy Hummingbirds offers this advice about how often the change the nectar (and wash the feeder).

High temperatures…………Change nectar after

71-75……………………………6 days

76-80……………………………5 days

81-84……………………………4 days

85-88……………………………3 days

89-92……………………………2 days

93+………………………………change daily


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Local Nursery for SW Michigan Native Plants

The pale petals of New England Aster bring a quiet beauty to the garden. Image by Tim Gibson, www.flickr.com/people/53933665@N06/

The pale petals of New England Aster bring a quiet beauty to the garden. Image by Tim Gibson, http://www.flickr.com/people/53933665@N06/

Adding native plants to your garden or woodland areas is a good investment in both beauty and biodiversity.

Hidden Savanna Nursery, owned and operated by Chad and Kristin Hughson, covers 33 acres at 100 N. Van Kal Street on the outskirts of Kalamazoo. They specialize in plants that are native to Southwest Michigan.

Native plants thrive in our climate zone and are seldom affected by pests or drought. They can be beautiful. They attract and support native insects, some of which are pollinators and others that are a good food source for birds and caterpillars (butterflies).

Hidden Savanna Nursery is a on-site retail operation selling grasses, wildflowers, shrubs, and some trees. Ask Chad about the best size for transplanting the shrubs and trees. They have limited sales dates, but they will respond to your email requesting an appointment. Their email is info@hiddensavanna.com. They accept cash and checks in payment.

Date Day Hours
May 11 Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
May 12 Sunday 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
May 19 Sunday 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
May 25 Saturday 10:00 pm to 5:00 pm
June 1 Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
June 8 Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
June 15 Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
June 22 Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
———– ————- ———————–
August 24 Saturday 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
September 7 Saturday 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
September 14 Saturday 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Try the online plant selector using plant specifics for soil moisture, sun/shade, and bloom time. There is also price list you can download as a pdf file.

Hidden Savanna has been open for 5 years and looks forward to meeting new customers. They currently sell to homeowners, landscape designers, conservation districts, nature centers, and more.